Over the past few days, we have been looking at various words that I am going to be. Today I am going to be Listening to God.
So, why must we listen to God?
- For guidance, Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
- For more faith, Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
- For more wisdom, Mark 4:24, “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.”
- For teaching, Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.”
- To obey God, Deuteronomy 28:1-2 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:”
- To be part of God’s family, Luke 8:21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
- To open the door for Jesus, Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
How can we listen to God?
- Be of God, John 8:47 “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
- Be a sheep, John 10:27-28 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
- Through the Word of Christ, Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” In this way God speaks through Scripture. This is probably the most common way that people hear from God. Perhaps the same Scripture will keep appearing to you over and over again. Recently, for example, I was struggling with my mental health and I kept reading 2 Corinthians 10:5 “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Out of nowhere a friend of mine even began a Bible Study on this very subject! I believe that God was giving me the answer to my problems. I believe that God was telling me to filter my thoughts, keep the Godly ones and destroy the negative ones. Sometimes you will just be reading your Bible, and something will just stand out to you so much that it is like a “eureka” moment, this happened to me just the other day with regard to the Trinity!
- God can talk to us in prayer. I think it is more common to have thoughts rather than to hear an audible voice from God. Often your thought process is guided by God. I am still at the confused stage where I never know if it is just me or God, but this is something I am working on!! One way I am working on this is meditation. As I concentrate deeply on a passage of Scripture, I find I can slow my brain down and, in this way, I hope to be able to free my mind enough to hear more from God.
What does God sound like?
- Silent, heard through Scripture, Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
- Silent, heard through dreams, visions, in sleep, Job 33:14-18 “For God does speak—now one way, now another-though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.” Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
- Powerful, Psalm 29:3-9, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaksand strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”” Psalm 46:6 “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” God’s voice contains so much power, by His voice he created our whole universe!! Yet, we will see that at other times it is noticeably quiet!
Who hears God in the Bible?
Samuel, The Boy Who Listened, 1 Samuel 3:-
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’” Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”
Isn’t it interesting that three times Samuel runs into Eli’s room believing the voice to be his! On this occasion God’s voice must have been like that of an average man. Also what I find very interesting is the fact that Eli realises that it is God’s voice that Samuel is hearing and tells him to go back and listen to God and yet Eli does not speak to Samuel again until morning!! Eli must be very accustomed to hearing God speak and also be very patient. Would any of us react this way? Personally, I would be up out of bed listening in at the door trying to hear for myself. Then I would be straight in to question Samuel all about it!
Ex 24:16, “and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud.” Numbers 7:89 “When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.” These are only two occasions, of course there are many more, God also spoke to Moses from a burning bush and on top of a mountain!
1 Kings 19:11-13 “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”” Here God’s voice is a gently whisper. After all the noise and commotion, that God has created, earthquake, storm and fire, God whispers to Elijah. Here we see the power and the wrath of God juxtaposed with his gentleness. Deuteronomy 32:1-2 “Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”
The crowd of people with Jesus:-
John 12:28-30 ““Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” So, the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.””
Peter, James, and John:-
Matthew 17:1-8 “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.”
When Will I Hear from God?
You will never know when God is going to speak to you, as you can see from the Bible verses above, it is usually quite “out of the blue”! The most important aspect of listening to God is making yourself available, always be listening. A popular motto is “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!” We are to listen twice as much as we speak! James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Perhaps you will need to explore different avenues in order to hear God, for example, meditation (this can help if you struggle with busy thoughts), prayer/Bible journaling (again, helpful for busy thoughts), listening prayer i.e. not constant chatter from our end with little time for God to speak. Sometimes God will speak through others, so we need to be listening always.
I am confident that somehow, I have heard the Word of God. Though I have not heard God audibly, the journey of faith I am now travelling, could not have begun without God having guided me.
Love and Blessings